THE skin on his hands may be sore and blistered, but for Michael Casey it has all been worth it.
The Ennis man has raised more than €10,000 for the ISPCC’s Childline by recently completing 100 pull ups every day for 100 days.
And on his final day, he decided to make the challenge even more difficult by doing 800 pull-ups, including 300 with added weights.
He explains that he chose to do 800 reps on his final day to represent the 800 children and young people who contact Childline every day.
He took on 500 pull ups using his own body weight, another 200 with 10kg attached, 80 more with 20kg and his last 20 reps with 25kg attached.
Speaking to the Clare Champion after completing the mammoth endeavour he says, “That was tough, by the end of it I was just doing two reps at a time. Physically that was the hardest part of the whole thing.
“I’d arranged for some people to take part with me and do 100 reps because I was doing Instagram Live, which helped keep me going, and we chatted and people could ask me questions about the fundraiser and I was chatting with people on Snapchat. That definitely made it go faster.
“There were two stretches maybe where I worked out on my own, and that coincided with it raining as well so that wasn’t a nice experience because it was very cold. But it felt great when it was over and to know that I’d done this for Childline.”
Speaking about the amount of funds raised he says, “I’m very happy, when I got the notification that I raised €10,000, and there is still money being donated, it felt great because I thought I’d have to do a bit more fundraising to reach my goal.
“The online fundraising page is going to be kept open for the next couple of weeks so people can still donate if they would like. I’ve been overwhelmed with how generous people have been.”
He explains that he chose Childline to benefit from the fundraiser because of the invaluable work they have been doing to support children and young people’s mental health during Covid-19.
“I know that children have gone back to school now, but this has been a particularly hard time for children. I feel children and young people have gotten the short end of the straw, they’ve been taken out of school, not seeing their friends, this has been completely disruptive and they are just expected to deal with it.
“Childline are just such a fantastic service, offering tremendous support to children and young people. The numbers using the service have increased during lockdown; everybody is finding it difficult and children are no different.
“The Childline service costs €4.2 million to run every year and they rely on 90% of funding from public donations.
“Because of Covid-19 they haven’t been able to fundraise in the ways they usually would so that’s why online fundraisers like this one are so important.”
Michael says when he originally decided to take on this challenge, he set a goal of raising €3,000, having no idea how people would respond.
People’s generosity, however, prompted him to increase that target to €10,000.
“I’ve just been so lucky that people have supported me through this. We are in a pandemic and there are a lot of people out of work so it’s just fantastic that so many people believed in this cause.”
He admits that it was sometimes difficult to motivate himself every day to do the pull ups, however it was knowing that he was doing something worthwhile for charity that kept him going.
“There were days when maybe I didn’t get a donation, and I might think people aren’t taking any notice but I’d still have to do my pull ups, so I’d leave it till 2am which was just silly because it meant I didn’t get enough sleep and my recovery took longer.”
Physically the challenge also took its toll. “At the moment I can’t even wash my hands without it being sore because I have blisters and rips on my skin.
“After every challenge I do I would do a flex picture or a bicep picture and post it on social media to show people I’d done it. I was doing one, and about three seconds into it my muscle kind of spasmed and my right arm went completely dead for a couple of seconds. It was really weird.
“However the pain of taking on the challenge was definitely worth it because it was for such a good cause.”
Now that the fundraiser is over, he is taking some time to rest and relax.
“The fundraiser took up a lot of time, and it wasn’t just the physical aspect of it. There was a lot of things to get organised and coming up with different ideas to keep people interested and to find different ways to spread awareness of the good work that Childline are doing.
“For instance, over Easter some of the shops were kind enough to donate chocolate and I bought some myself to give away in an extra fundraiser. I was also encouraging people to do some reps alongside me online.”
However, this isn’t the end of his fundraising efforts, with plans now underway to do a head shave to raise money for a cancer charity later in the year.
“I might do another physical challenge again, but it would have to be bigger and better than this one. There’s no point coming back and doing 100 push ups, it will have to make a bigger splash. It will have to be twice as hard to raise twice the money.”
For further details check Instagram @MichaelCasey93 or search for Michael Casey on Facebook. Donations can be made at https://www.idonate.ie/mc100pullups